That overuse of antibiotics has caused major problems for the medical community.
About two decades ago, doctors realized flooding patients' bodies with antibiotics caused mutated, stronger forms of bacteria to emerge.
Regular antibiotics don't easily treat these "super bugs" like MRSA. Those infections require stronger antibiotics.
In some cases, MRSA infections are so severe doctors have to remove affected tissue to combat the bacteria's spread.
"Physicians have changed their practices because of that," McCarty said.
Thomas Memorial Hospital started looking at its use of Vicomycin, a very strong antibiotic, about six months ago.
Vicomycin, like many antibiotics, can be used to both treat and prevent infection.
Doctors often use antibiotics to prevent infections when patients go under the knife. McCarty said they usually prescribe penicillin or another less powerful antibiotic in those cases but may use Vicomycin when patients are allergic to other antibiotics.
Physicians also use the drug when an infection does not respond to a weaker antibiotic.
But, like any drug, Vicomycin can be over-used. And if an antibiotic is used too much, bacteria stop being affected by it.
"We want to try to prevent something from happening," McCarty said. "Vancomycin is one of those very strong antibiotics. That's why we want to make sure we use it effectively."
She said the hospital is not going to stop using the drug; administrators are just trying to make sure it is used correctly.
"It's really kind of drilling down on our use," she said.
Ken Priddy, Thomas Memorial's pharmacy director, along with his staff, are studying how often the hospital's doctors prescribe the antibiotic and for whom.
All Thomas Memorial patients wear individualized barcodes on their hospital bracelets. When they're given a new medication, nurses scan both the patient bracelet and a barcode on the medicine, linking the two in the hospital's records system.
Hospital administrators can use that information to track the volume of a medication's use and which patients receive which drugs.
"By having that automated system, we can collect a lot of data," McCarty said.
Priddy and his staff also are looking at hospital patients' cultures to see if the bacteria still are sensitive to Vicomycin.